What happens to recycled plastics

What happens to recycled plastics

What happens to the 7 different types of plastic, once recycled?

What plastic is recyclable

In this previous blog, we told you about the seven different types of plastic, made from different materials. They are used for different items and will be recycled into different products.

If you look at your plastics, you’ll see a number from 1 to 7 in a Möbius triangle, symbol of recycling. That tells you what it’s made of, what it’s used for, and what happens to it once it’s recycled, which is its recyclability rate.

Here are different examples of outcomes by type of plastic.

Be careful, not all numbers are recycled in the same way depending on the locality. Contact your municipality to see what you can put in recycling and what you can’t.

#1: Polyethylene terephthalate

Polyethylene terephthalate, is often transparent and is most often used for drinks like cups and soda bottles, etc.

The PET is inexpensive and lightweight, but more importantly, it is 100% recyclable, and there are many opportunities. When recycled, it is used to create new food packaging or to manufacture items such as carpets, car parts or furniture.

Polyethylene terephthalate

#2: High density polyethylene

High density polyethylene, is a hard, opaque thermoplastic, usually used to make laundry bottles, milk bottles and toys.

This plastic will be easily recycled in containers for laundry detergent, shampoo and hair conditioners, motor oil bottles, synthetic wood, pipes, buckets, crates, flowerpots, films, recycling bins, niches, picnic tables, fences and floor tiles.

Polyéthylène haute densité

#3: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is found in food packaging, medical tubes, facade coverings, window frames, floor tiles and carpets.

Because of the toxins it can release if burned, recycling is not common. However, some manufacturers of plastic lumber accept the product, and in this case, it will be used to create pipes, tubes, industrial containers, cables, medical equipment, shoe soles and watch straps.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

#4: Low density polyethylene

Low density polyethylene is used to manufacture frozen food bags, garbage bags, transparent kitchen film, softer plastic bottles, etc.

This plastic is very difficult to recycle, is only allowed in some recycling programs, and there are currently few recycling facilities for this type of plastic. This type of plastic also causes major problems for sorting centre equipment!

When recycled, it is used to make shipping envelopes, tiles, composting bins and garbage cans.

Low density polyethylene

Mambo… oops… plastic #5 😀

Polypropylene is used to make containers, medical equipment, caps, lids, etc.

It can be recycled several times before reaching the end of its life and will be used to manufacture cables, brushes, brushes, ice scrapers, bike racks, rakes…


#6: Polystyrene

Polystyrene is used to manufacture disposable plastic dishes, coffee cups and lids, and some food containers (for example eggs).

It is generally not accepted in recycling programs, as industrial recycling processes are not very developed and there are few outlets.

However, when recycled, it can be used in thermal insulation products, license plate frames, or foam packaging.


#7: Other types of plastics

This issue is for other types of plastic materials that are very rarely recycled, such as water bottles, interior coating of food cans, pans, pots and pans, dishes, etc.

Plastic #7 is very little recycled, especially because it is very difficult to separate the different types of plastic in this category.

However, they can sometimes be reused for the manufacture of very specific and tailor-made products.

Other types of plastics
And you, did you get the number right?
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Founded in 2001, Ricova is the most fully integrated Quebec company for its collection, sorting and recycling services for residual and recyclable materials. Recyclable and organic materials represent more than 70% of the materials it collects and transports in Quebec. Thanks to more than 20 years of experience in the field, Ricova is concerned about protecting the environment by supporting the most ecological solutions that allow it to optimize its operations and obtain more value for recycled materials.
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In a world where sustainability is becoming increasingly vital, recycling stands out as a beacon of hope.
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